VHFA releases 2019 Annual Report

By: Mia Watson

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) has released its 2019 Annual Report. This year VHFA celebrated its 45th annniversary of financing and promoting affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since it opened, the Agency has helped approximately 29,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,800 affordable rental apartments. 

In fiscal year 2019, VHFA financed $80 million in home mortgages to help 481 households move into their own homes. 87 percent of VHFA borrowers were first-time homebuyers, and 68 percent received down payment assistance. VHFA also received an award this year for pioneering the use of state tax credits for down payment assistance at a national housing conference.

VHFA was again the single largest source of funding for affordable rental housing development in the state. Of the new rental housing that VHFA funded in FY19, the federal and state tax credits and loans awarded by the Agency supported an average of 72 percent of total project costs. VHFA awarded $33 million in tax credits and $18 million in loans to projects that created or rehabilitated 477 apartments across the state. 7,987 Vermonters currently live in apartments funded by the Agency, and VHFA staff physically inspected over 450 apartments this past year to monitor program compliance, property maintenance, and safety and affordability for residents. 

Despite these successes, there is still much work to be done. 25 percent of Vermont renters pay over half their income in rent, making it difficult to afford other basic expenses like food and transportation. A Vermont worker would need to earn $18.18 per hour to afford an average one bedroom apartment, yet the average renter earns just $13.40 per hour. Prospective homebuyers are also struggling to afford Vermont's high home prices. 60 percent of recent Vermont graduates have student loans, with an average $29,656 in debt, making it hard to save up to purchase their first homes without help. VHFA will continue to work towards a safe, decent, and affordable home for all Vermonters. 

Read the full 2019 Annual Report to learn more about VHFA's work this past year.